The chant leaving Babylon (Isa 48:20-48:22)

“Go out from Babylon!

Flee from Chaldea!

Declare this

With a shout of joy!

Proclaim it!

Send it forth

To the ends of the earth!

Say.

‘Yahweh has redeemed

His servant Jacob!’

They did not thirst

When he led them through the deserts.

He made water flow for them

From the rock.

He split open the rock.

The water gushed out.

‘There is no peace

For the wicked.’

Says Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah makes an obvious comparison to the Exodus in this hymn about leaving Babylon. They were to get out of Babylon and away from the Chaldeans. The Israelites were to shout with joy so that it could be heard at the ends of the earth. Yahweh has saved Jacob. They would not be thirsty on their way through the wilderness, just as those leaving with Moses were not thirsty. Yahweh was going to break open a rock, as in Exodus, chapter 17, to give them water, so that the water would gush out of the broken rock. However, there would be no peace for the wicked.

Thanksgiving praise (Isa 12:4-12:6)

“You will say on that day.

‘Give thanks to Yahweh!

Call on his name!

Make known his deeds

Among the nations!

Proclaim that his name is exalted!

Sing praises to Yahweh!

Because he has done gloriously!

Let this be known

In all the earth!

Shout aloud!

Sing for joy!

O royal Zion!

Great in your midst is

The Holy One of Israel.’”

You should proclaim a thanksgiving hymn of praise on that day of reunion. Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on his name! Make his deeds known among the nations! Proclaim his name! Sing praises to Yahweh because he is glorious! Let the whole world know! Shout it out! Sing for joy! Isaiah maintains that the holy one of Israel would be among them at Mount Zion.

A poem in search of wisdom (Sir 51:21-51:25)

“While I was still young,

Before I went on my travels,

I sought wisdom openly

In my prayer.

Before the temple

I asked for her.

I will search for her

Until the end.

From the first blossom

To the ripening grape,

My heart delighted in her.

My foot walked

On the straight path.

From my youth,

I followed her steps.

I inclined my ear a little.

I received her.

I found for myself much instruction.

I made progress in her.

To him who gives wisdom

I will give glory.”

This appendix about wisdom is a Hebrew alphabetic or acrostic poem, like the ending of Proverbs, chapter 31. It follows the hymn to God’s mercy, but had the same numbers so I changed them. This author or Sirach was searching for wisdom since his youth, even before he started traveling. He prayed for wisdom in the Temple. He would continue to search her out until the end of his life. Just as you watch a blossom grow into a grape, he too grew in wisdom and enjoyed every minute of it. He always walked on the straight paths, following in her footsteps. He listened to all the instructions about wisdom as he progressed. Thus he can now give glory to the one who gave him wisdom.

Eulogy for famous holy men (Sir 44:1-44:2)

“Let us now sing the praises

Of famous men,

Our ancestors,

In their generations.

The Lord apportioned to them

Great glory.

The Lord apportioned to them

His majesty from the beginning.”

Sirach then turned to a hymn to honor all his famous holy ancestors from past generations. Their lives, like the saints of the later Christian tradition, illustrated the glory of God. Notice how all are male. In their own generations, they were glorified by the Lord so that his majesty might shine in their lives from the beginning. For those familiar with the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire” will recognize this verse from the opening scenes of the movie at the memorial services.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 135:1-135:4)

“Praise Yahweh!

Praise the name of Yahweh!

Give praise!

O servants of Yahweh!

You stand in the house of Yahweh!

You stand in the courts of the house of our God!

Praise Yahweh!

Yahweh is good!

Sing to his name!

He is gracious!

Yahweh has chosen Jacob for himself.

Israel is his own possession.”

Psalm 135 does not have a title as this hymn praises God for his mighty deeds. This psalm begins with a “praise Yahweh” that is equivalent to an “alleluia,” the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” The psalmist wanted all the servants of Yahweh to praise his name. They were standing in the house of Yahweh, in the courtyards. They were to praise Yahweh and sing to his name. After all, Yahweh was gracious. He had chosen Jacob and made Israel his possession.

Hymn of praise for the works of Yahweh (Ps 111:1-111:4)

“Praise Yahweh!

Aleph 

I will give thanks to Yahweh,

With my whole heart,

Bet      

In the company of the upright,

In the congregation.

Gimel

Great are the works of Yahweh,

Dalet  

Studied by all who delight in them.

He      

Full of honor and majesty is his work.

Vav     

His righteousness endures forever.

Zain   

He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds.”

Psalm 111 is a hymn of praise to Yahweh because he has kept his covenant with Israel. Although there is no title, this fairly short acrostic or Hebrew alphabet psalm has a letter for every line. Like the next 2 psalms, it starts with the refrain “Praise Yahweh” or the Alleluia cry, which is the Hebrew word “Hallelujah.” The psalmist will give thanks to Yahweh with his whole heart at the congregational meeting. He talked about the great works of Yahweh that delights those who study them. Yahweh is full of honor and majesty in his work. Of course, his righteousness lasts forever because he has become well known by his wonderful actions.

Introductory hymn to Yahweh (Ps 105:1-105:5)

“O give thanks to Yahweh!

Call on his name!

Make known his deeds among the peoples!

Sing to him!

Sing praises to him!

Tell of all his wonderful works!

Glory in his holy name!

Let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice!

Seek Yahweh!

Seek his strength!

Seek his presence continually!

Remember the wonderful works he has done!

Remember his miracles!

Remember the judgments he has uttered!”

Psalm 105 is usually combined with Psalm 106 to be recited at some major feast, since it recalls all the great events in the life of the Israelites. However this long psalm has no introductory title. The first section is a hymn to Yahweh. Some of the texts have an Alleluia to start this hymn. We give thanks to Yahweh. We call on his name. We tell everybody about him. We sing praises to him. We glory in his holy name. Those who seek Yahweh can rejoice. We seek his strength and his presence continually. We remember his wonderful works, his miracles, and his judgments.